Willett takes Dubai Desert Classic title

Englishman secures Dubai Desert Classic title by one shot with 15ft putt

Danny Willett holds the Dubai Desert Classic trophy, after his one-shot win. Credit: Getty Images
Danny Willett holds the Dubai Desert Classic trophy, after his one-shot win. Credit: Getty Images

Engllishman secures his fourth victory on the European Tour with the Dubai Desert Classic title

Danny Willett won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic by one shot after draining a 15ft putt on the final hole.

In securing the Dubai Desert Classic title, Willett became the sixth man this season in the eight European tour events thus far to win having entered the final day atop the leaderboard.

The Englishman had started the day with a one-shot lead, which he had extended to three shots with birdies on 12 and 13. However Willett dropped shot on 14 and a birdie on the last from Andy Sullivan and birdies on 17 and 18 by Rafa Cabrera-Bello meant he needed to make a sloping left to right putt for the title.

“Ecstatic,” he declared himself as afterwards. “You can't buy that feeling, coming down the back nine, the back three, in contention in a golf tournament. It's something that you can't pay for in life. You've got to earn it. It's just nice to know that I can dig deep there and produce.”

The putt dropping meant that Willett finished on 19 under and there was no three-way play-off. Instead Sullivan and Cabrera-Bello shared second place.

Pre-tournament favourite and defending champion Rory McIlroy finished with a 65 and in a tie for 6th place.

Four talking points from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic: 1.  It is Willett’s fourth European Tour victory. This was a tournament where experience of winning seemed to matter - every one of the last seven pairings for Sunday's final round had won on the European Tour.

2. For Andy Sullivan it extended his bitter-sweet experience in Dubai,. It is the second consecutive tournament in this emirate where has finished runner-up, after coming second to Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship in November.

3. For the second week running Cabrera-Bello, winner here in 2012, finished in a share of second.

4. Should we be worried about fixing in golf? The announcer welcomed Rory McIlroy to the tee as the ‘2019 Dubai Desert Classic champion’. Mind you he could well prove right, so maybe instead we should just ask him for next week’s lottery numbers?

Dubai Desert Classic Emirates GC, Dubai, UAE Feb 4-7 Purse: $2,650,000, par 72

1  Danny Willett  70  65  65  69  269  $523,471 T2  Andy Sullivan  70  66  66  68 270  $272,800  T2  Rafael Cabrera-Bello  67  67  67  69 270  $272,800  T4  Alvaro Quiros  68  69  70  65  272  $145,109 T4  Byeong-Hun An  71  67  69  65  272  $145,109  T6  Rory McIlroy  68  72  68  65  273  $102,079 T6  Henrik Stenson  69  68  70  66 273  $102,079  T8  Alejandro Canizares  71  69  68  66  274  $58,538  T8  Tyrrell Hatton  70  70  68  66  274  $58,538  T8  Thorbjorn Olesen  72  64  70  68 274  $58,538 T8  Soren Kjeldsen  70  70  66  68  274  $58,538 T8  Chris Wood  68  68  69  69  274  $58,538  T8  Scott Hend  71  68  66  69  274  $58,538  T8  Haydn Porteous  72  66  66  70  274  $58,538  T8  Joost Luiten  69  67  67  71  274  $58,538 

Bold type denotes Titleist ball usage

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.